Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood: Making the Right Decision in Green Bay
It was a brisk March afternoon in Green Bay. The day was March 3rd, 2008, and almost every person who considered themselves a Packer fan would've told you that their team leader, Brett Favre, would be back in 2008 to guide them to yet another Super Bowl. But exactly one day later, the Aaron Rodgers era would begin, and the Brett Favre era would come to a stunning close. Favre, shockingly had announced his retirement. Though many were positive that the All-Time NFL leader in consecutive starts would be back for another season, they were wrong...Well, at the time they were.
Favre had stated that his decision to retire was completely based the fact that he did not want to play anymore. He would be eligible for an induction into the NFL Hall of Fame five years later, and the world would always consider him a Packer. "I know I can play, but I don't think I want to. And that's really what it comes down to." were his exact words. And just four months later, he'd change his mind...AGAIN.
Yes, on July 2nd, it was reported that the Iron Man wanted back. He had contacted the Packer organization and made it clear that he was striving to come out of his four-month retirement period. And eventually, nine days later, Brett had asked Ted Thomson and the Green Bay Packer organization for an unconditional release from the team. When this wasn't granted, the feud had begun. Through a series of interviews, lies, rumors, backstabbing, and confusion, Aaron Rodgers was announced as the Packer starting QB. Mike McCarthy, Brett Favre, and Ted Thomson had mutually agreed that it was time to part ways, and time for Aaron Rodgers to become the face of the franchise. Most doubt that he’ll ever play anywhere close to the level that we’ve seen Favre at. Call me crazy, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against it.
MR. RODGERS – TAKING OVER THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Before the 2008 NFL season, Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers had received constant speculation and analysis from sports fans and reporters around the country. Some didn’t think that Rodgers had enough in him for a playoff run. A 13-3 record would be extremely difficult to match, and since Aaron has never started an NFL game, most would wonder how he could handle the situation.
As week one approached, the pressure was on. The feisty Minnesota Vikings were in town, which meant that one of the most efficient defenses in the league would be doing all that they could to show A-Rod (yeah, probably not the A-Rod you’re thinking of, but it is one of his nicknames) that being a starting QB in The League was much harder than it looked. Along with the strain of a division rivalry on your back for the season/home opener, he’d also have to do it on Monday Night. Notice that I capitalized the M and F in that sentence? Yes, it would be a Monday Night Football game. Tension? Anxiety? Stress? Of course.
The stage was set.
The game – INTENSE to say the least. And even though it wasn’t Aaron’s best performance, he definitely gave the Lambeau crowd something to cheer about (other than Brett Favre). He passed for 178 yards, threw a touchdown, and also rushed for one. Aaron and Friends routed the Vikings for a 24-19 win, and gave Mike McCarthy his second straight season opening win. This was easily Aaron’s favorite career milestone, which will forever be cemented into his mind. The battle was over, but the war had just begun.
As week two drew closer and closer, it was clear the Mr. Rodgers was growing more and more confident. The mediocre Detroit Lions would be their opponents this week, and the so-called experts on TV had given the Packers the edge. But McCarthy and his bunch have enough intelligence to never take any team or player for granted.
This game wasn’t considerably similar to week one, as the Packers started and ended the game with offensive and defensive explosions, lead by none other than Aaron Rodgers. Throwing for 328 yards and three touchdowns, Rogers seemed as cool as the other side of the pillow, giving his club a boost when the Lions lead 25-24 with less than six minutes left. Rodgers, in his first career road game, showed all of Detroit that his week one performance wasn’t at all a fluke.
RODGERS VS. FAVRE: MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE
If being an NFL head coach isn’t difficult enough, try being Mike McCarthy this summer. He, along with his coaching staff and GM, made a jeopardous choice, handing Aaron Rodgers the starting quarterback job (as mentioned earlier in the piece). This selection was definitely a risk, and could come back to bite them in the ass at any time. But (if you’ve been reading so far) you’ve probably noticed that his team is 2-0, and Favre’s is 1-1. Throw the last 16 seasons out the window, and I would honestly call Aaron Rodgers the better player.
On a serious note, Aaron is performing at an elite level, with motivation that Brett seems to be lacking. And if you don’t follow statistics, you’d be surprised to hear the Rodgers is fifth in the league in QB rating, tenth in passing yards, tied for first in interceptions (with zero), tied for third with TD passes, and eight in completion percentage. Believe it or not, he’s in front of Favre in each of those categories. Now, this could be due to the receiving corp. that Rodgers has, compared to Favre; but I’m convinced that A-Rod has been playing with a higher level of intensity, will, and ferociousness through the first two weeks of the season. Basically, he wants it more than Favre does right now.
After what I just said, I expect to be pelted with some rather unkind comments. But hey, it’s my opinion.
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